New Delhi, 10thDecember, 2014: Hearing a writ petition of National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) against continuous eviction and harassment of street vendors in Delhi, Hon’ble High Court of Delhi took a strong exception of blatant violation of the Street Vending Act, 2014 and repeated deliberate ignorance of court orders. Annoyed, the division bench of Hon’ble Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Hon’ble Justice Siddharth Mridul asked the petitioner to file a contempt petition for dis-obeying the earlier court orders.

Appearing for the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), Advocate Prashant Bhushan drew attention of the bench to the sad situation that the municipal and police authorities are not only ignoring the court orders but openly defying it and keep extorting “HAFTA” from the poor vendors.

Peeved with the situation, the bench ordered municipal authorities to conduct a survey of the area mentioned in the petition as to how many vendors have been evicted and to reinstate them at their original vending sites because this was an outright violation of the Street Vending Act, 2014 and the various court orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and High Court.

It must be mentioned that around 100 vendors near Nahar Patti, Meena Bazar Jama Masjid area were evicted on the eve of the 15th August 2014 citing security concerns. However, after the Independence Day celebrations were over they were not allowed to return to their workplace. Repeated pleas to the Home Minister, Police Commissioner and the municipal authorities fell on deaf ears, each asking the other to act.

Mr. Arbind Singh, National Coordinator, NASVI hailed the decision saying it was path-breaking and only way to make the municipal and police authorities abide by the law of the land. He said that vendors of Delhi have come to believe that the authority will not act to get the order implemented as ‘HAFTA’ will stop. Today’s order has brought a new hope to the vendors. Ms. Sampriti Phukan Malik, a lawyer associated with NASVI, supplemented saying that the order will help street vendors of other states to seek help from court in case of eviction and harassment. She felt that the Act should be implemented faster.

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